Monday, August 30, 2010

time to work...

on working THESE babies off! Ok...I did only have ONE...but it might have been the second hardest thing in my life. The first being childbirth. My blogging buddy Heather is who posted the recipe...eep a couple years ago and it's been on my 'to make' list. Well..the wedding anniversary was last week and instead of a cake or cookies...I made cinnamon rolls. This recipe...will now be my go to recipe! They are pretty quick and VERY deceiving...what do I mean? well..I mean that mine didn't proof in the pan that much..so I was scared that we'd be having cinnamon hockey pucks (sadly it's happened to me MANY times before b/c I have no patience)-but it's like these babies were just waiting for the comforting, warm hug of the oven..because once inside...they grew! And they were divine! :) I made two 8X8 pans full....Husband had 2, I had 1. I took a pan over to a friend's house (she's less than 2 weeks from baby time-yay! and he's our go-to guy), and the 4 remaining in OUR pan I shared with Husband's Aunt (my favorite one..sshhh!), and his parents and brother. Get Heather's recipe here....you won't regret it! Another quick anniversary note...we went to Fogo De Chao for our celebratory dinner. Um...WOW! VERY good!!! I'm a huge carnivore..but I could have been totally happy and satisfied with JUST the salad bar! Huge hunks of aged parm, wedges of swiss and manchego, fresh crisp asparagus, onions marinated in red wine vinegar and oregano...lots of different chicken and potato salads...it was just all amazing. And ...their 'cheese bread' they bring to the table....popovers..I'd never had one and now I'm just itching to buy a popover pan and make some at home! They were so good! Then came the meat....I thought I'd be more 'just give me chicken' since I'm not a huge steak eater..but the rib eye was my hands down FAVORITE. None of the meats needed ANYTHING...no sauce, no salt, nothing but a quick cut up on the plate and put in your mouth. Delicious!! If you have one near by, you should go!

Friday, August 27, 2010

a long linky post!

Have you all missed me? Hopefully a little, right? I haven't been doing a TON of cooking...no really..I haven't. Because I'm trying to lose (a ton) weight...I got chosen for Season 2 of Win, Lose, or Blog! But I have cooked up a couple things... My Ma's birthday was the 17th...so I baked her up some banana cupcakes with honey-cinnamon frosting! I took inspiration from Martha and didn't change up much..cept for more cinnamon b/c my Ma is a cinna-holic. I did allow myself ONE cupcake...and actually..only ate half (self control was hard on this one!)-the cupcakes have the banana bread taste,but not the dense heavy texture..they have the nice light cakey texture. Also, my Dad praised me that the frosting really didn't overpower the cake...yes!
I'm a Food Network addict and one of my new favorite faces is Marcela on Mexican Made Easy. Husband has a MAD crush on her-totally understandable b/c she's a babe. He loves listening to her talk-I can fake it to make it on speaking spanish..but since she is from Mexico she can say it effortlessly...like PO-blanos, and Chiles (but it sounds like Cheee-lays). And when she made Stuffed Poblanos..aka Chile Rellenos, Husband and I both declared we needed to try it. Warning....unless you are Marcela and have the Food Network staff at your disposal...have another person helping you with this. It was difficult, but SO worth it!
Can it be-a, and italian quesadilla?? You know where Healthy is right? Ok..go there, but then take a left and go a few blocks, then take ANOTHER left and go down until you get to Ya-Kiddin-Me St. See..it's still in the neighborhood, but it's not REALLY healthy. Flat-out wrap + pesto (healthy...) + pepperoni + italian blend cheese (not healthy)='s awesome lunch!!
Last year a bloggy buddy of mine did 12 days of Oats to get in the Christmas mood. And where it's not Christmas (Yet)...I had some blackberries I wanted to use up..so I did them Heather style-old fashioned oats, a little butter and brown sugar, blackberries AND blueberries. It might very well be my new favorite way to eat oats!!
Ah..cherries...bings how I love thee...I do not however, love your PITS! I'd love to eat you like grapes (seedless ones of course) but alas I cannot b/c of your F*&^%*# PITS! I asked my Dad to get me a cherry pitter, he said he never had much luck...so I looked online and found my amazing solution-a pastry tip
seriously..there should be a Nobel prize for kitchen ideas and that person should get it! I had like $15 worth of Bings..and now..they are all seed free and MUCH easier to snack on!
Oh...a favor if you would please...my good blog friend Ivy is in a contest, and I'd LOVE to see her win!! Her awesome ice cream is the Whiskey-Blueberry! Go vote for her here! I'll try to be back soon with something yummy..this time in the form of a KC restaurant review! Yesterday was Husband and My 6th anniversary and tonight is dinner at Fogo de Chao!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pukked Porl.

That's pronounced "pucked" for clarification...and my fingers wanted to type "Pulled Pork" b/c that's what this is/was. But my mashed potato brains typed Pukked Porl..so there you go. Um...have you got a whole day?? B/c you need one. You guys know how I am about my bbq. VERY picky. So is Husband. He's pickier than I am, but in a different way. I'm picky about flavor, he's picky about texture and if there is any fat on the meat..he won't touch it. Therefore usually at a BBQ restaurant he'll get turkey. Boring. We both like pulled pork. But I think 'fat' comes in two disappointing ways 1)brisket, 2) pulled pork. This pork...was FAAAAAANTASTIC! It tasted smoked..although it wasn't...BUT...it did take ALL day. Pulled pork should FALL apart....you need to cook it all day for it to fall apart So around eh...10am I put it in the oven on 300...and it went until about 10 that night. You'll need- a big ol butt *snickers* BOSTON butt I mean! I think mine weighed about 4-5lbs. I used a PD recipe as a guide...but really freehanded with the seasoning amounts..- PD's house seasoning is just a rationed mix of what I use all the time anyway! So I did go ahead and make up a bowl of her stuff..it makes life SO much easier! So....salt, pepper, garlic, -rub you meat *snickers* (I'm such a child) then....seasoning salt, then -rub your meat then....liquid smoke (this stuff is KEY)-then..say it with me now..RUB YOUR MEAT...you totally said it out loud this time didn't you?! Put it in a big ol pan and add the chopped onion, bay leaves (which I still haven't really figured out yet), and water. Put in the oven. Do not cover. I repeat...DO NOT COVER. You want it to look burned when you pull it out..that's bark. That's wonderful, delicious, awe inspiring...bark. Then you need to leave your house for a long time......at least until the pork is done. The first few hours of it being in the oven drove me crazy b/c it smelled SO good! Since it was about 10Pm when it got done...I put it in the fridge and saved it for Sunday supper... pulled it out of the fridge Sunday morning and pulled the heck out of it. I saved any fat and bone (there is one big bone) for the doggies. And I drained the juice...and saved it...SAVE the juice... It was then I realized..I had all this gorgeous pulled pork...and not enough sauce. NOT NEAR enough sauce. So I improvised. And OMG I'm so glad I did. 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce (b/c that is all I had) 1/2 bottle of Go Chicken Go (it's a ghetto chicken place here in MO...but awesome sauce...it's like a more pulverized salsa) 1/2 cup brown sugar and the juice. I told you, you would need it. This was a time where I'm so glad that I'm not scared to make things up in the kitchen b/c it's seriously good sauce! I'm also glad we have another Boston Butt in the freezer...I have a feeling we'll be using it soon!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cherry Gratin..and a winner!

Little Miss helps me with my super-scientific way of getting a winner (ie post-its in a jar!-and yes..you CAN be jealous of my really good 1 gallon Ball jar my Dad gave me..go ahead!)
Ta-daaahhhh! Kara! You won!!! Email me your mailing address and I'll get the prize pack out to you!! I can't wait to see what cool popsicles you come up with!!
So here's the story (of a lovely lady..wait...nope..wrong song!) of another one of my mis-adventures in cleaning out the fridge OR cooking with what you've got. Honestly..I think cooking with what you've got is a VERY important thing to do. Sure saves money, and cuts down on stuff that ends up in the trash can.
Little Miss is a fruit fly...she LOVES fruit..therefore my Dad is always buying her fruit. Last time around it was blueberries and cherries (Rainier and Bing). The blueberries were getting shrively and the cherries needed some help too. So...I pitted, and then I thought about it. I could just eat these cherries. But then I saw the pitiful blueberries and knew I had to help them out too. I went looking and found this Cherry-Almond Gratin. It sounded good..and easy! So I set off to make it.
But um..I only had about 1/4 cup of almonds. Hrm...*pilfers through the cupboard some more* toasted coconut? It could work. So...here is what I did...
and I'm not sure what to call it either...Little Miss called it Juicy Fruit Pie...but that makes me think of the gum..
Cherry-Blueberry-Almond-Coconut Gratin is WAY too long..and gives too much away.
Maybe Blue-double-Cherry Coconut toasty? Still too long...
Wait! (seriously I'm brainstorming for a title AS I type this so stay with me)-how about Fruit Toasty? No...that sounds like a cereal. Dangit.
Any ideas? Here's the recipe for the No-name knock off Gratin.
Fruit in equal amounts-
approx
1 1/2 c Rainier cherries (pitted and cut up)
1 1/2 c Bing cherries (ditto)
1 1/2 c Blueberries
healthy squirt of lemon juice
2T sugar
Cook over medium high heat until everybody gets really juicy and cozy, then pop it into the fridge to cool.
Oven at 375..while fruit is cooling...put the mixer to work-
1 stick of salted butter-softened
1/4 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup toasted coconut
(blend until incorporated)
2 eggs
2 T heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar (don't sift)
I used a white casserole dish for this..spray it with some non stick and once the cherry/berry mix cooled I added it, then globbed this stuff on top. Then baked. And baked. And baked. It baked for about 45 minutes. Then I let it cool.
You have to let it cool b/c the cherry/berry stuff is like hot lava. So again I say, let it cool.
Ah...I forgot to tell you. I LOVED it. As in l.o.v.e.d. it. My blueberries had totally rehydrated and got all bursty in my mouth and the two different cherries added both their flavors too...the more sweet Rainier, and the bold heady Bing. *smacks lips*
And the topping. Yum. I wouldn't call it a crumble, and despite a cup of sugar, it wasn't terribly sweet. I loved the toasty flavor of the coconut and the nut texture from the almonds.
I also didn't feel as guilty eating this as I do other desserts b/c it was alot more fruit than topping. And it was fruit..not chocolate. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Insight, Goals, and Help (hopefully!)

I awesome trend I am seeing are the 'healthy' blogs...I'd introduced you to a couple before that I love. I'm addicted to them..they are full of women who are exactly what I want to be! Healthy, smart, etc! I love Kara-her blog is a DAILY stop for me and she's doing 30 days of Insight, and I've decided to jump on the bandwagon as well. Because bandwagons are fun. And I have a little catching up to do: Day 1-Guilty pleasure *sigh* Food. Especially fast food and junk food. Seriously..I'm an emotional eater and whenever the stress hits me the FIRST place I think of and want to go is McDonald's. And no, not for a small fry, or a hamburger-plain. I'm a 'if you are gonna go..go all out' and I get the DOUBLE Quarter Pounder, LARGE with a coke. B/c I can't go to McDonald's and NOT get a Coke, even though I don't habitually drink soda. I'm also a HUGE fan of potato chips and doughnuts. Yes, sometimes together. See, I'm a sick sick person. Day 2-Something that inspires you My kids, and the future they hold. (how's THAT for sensitive and profound?) Day 3-The 5 songs you'd have with you on a desert island and why. I'm a music fan..but choosing just 5...hard to do! How about the 5 I'd START with? Stay-by Lisa Loeb (I've loved this song ever since it came out), Lullaby in Blue-by Debbie Reynolds (It's the lullaby I sing to my kids), Living in a Moment-by Ty Herndon (my most favorite country singer EVER, he is perfect to me and it's one of my favorite songs of his), boy..this is harder than I thought..um...Next Time I Fall-by Peter Cetera (again..just loved it ever since I heard it..oof..when I was a kid), One of the 90 and 9-by Michael McLean (he's an LDS composer, singer, and all around AWESOME guy..I love all his stuff). Day 4-What you imagine paradise is like. A clean house, happy family, and lots to eat. I'm simple like that. Day 5-A Thank you letter to someone that has changed your life. Aw..that's a good one. But mine would be simple. Dear Husband, thank you for REALLY loving me and changing my life. No really..that's who it would be. Sappy huh? Day 6-Earliest thing you can remember. My brother trying to smother me with a pillow, I was probably about 2 or so. Day 7-Favorite cover of your favorite song. Ooh ooh! I love Amanda Seifried's cover of Abba's Thank You for the Music. I like it better than the original..but don't tell Sweden that, ok? Day 8-Someone you think would make a good President. Oof...I'm not very political..I can honestly say I couldn't name someone. But I can also say that I'm not really happy with the current administration. There, done. Day 9-5 things you'd like to see change. I'll answer this like I answered it on Kara's site...they are things that need to change with me-my weight, my self esteem, my house cleaning, my relationships with other, and I'd love for my toddler to be potty trained. Day 10-A dream you've had this past week described in detail. Something killed all but one of the goats out at the farm. My Dad was numb to it. It was really sad b/c I know how happy those goats make us! Whew..ok..I'm caught up now! On Goals and Help...you know my Birthday goal...well I've submitted application to be in Season 2 of Win, Lose, or Blog! I really hope I make it on!!!

All about the sauce

Alfredo sauce isn't always forgiving. I think that unlike it's counterpart-Marinara you can really ruin a meal if you don't get it right. You see..Marinara..or in our house "Spaghetti sauce" is really easy. Because it comes in a can and it's good. Even throwing it together on your own is fairly easy. It's ok if it's sweeter, or if it's spicier. You don't care so much if it's on the thin side, or on the thick side. But Alfredo...it needs to be the right consistency...one of my food peeves...THICK GLOOPY Alfredo. *shudders* and on the other end of that spectrum THIN WATERY Alfredo. Really...if you are gonna serve me those...just give me a breadstick and I'll be gone, thankssomuch.. I'm guilty of making BOTH the TG version and the TW version of what is one of my favorite sauces. Is it healthy...no. But at an Italian restaurant I'll take white over red any day..I'm the same on wine just so ya know. I'm also guilty of making white sauces that taste more like just really bland gravy. This alfredo though ..isn't roux based..I think that helped out alot! I'm trying to be healthy..right? Well...ok..alfredo..not so healthy...but broccoli is. I knew that I'd need to sneak it in to eat it. I'm a child like that. You have to hide things to get me to eat them. Broccoli isn't hidden in this, actually it's pretty much in your face, but it really is just back up vocal for the Whitney/Mariah/Celine Alfredo sauce I made! It was the perfect consistency, and had the perfect cheesy flavor...but didn't over do it. So um..maybe it's more just like Celine. Alfredo My Way... 1/2 an onion-diced 1/2 a stick of buter 4 garlic cloves-minced put those in a sauce pan and go until the onions are nice and soft, then add 1 1/2 cup half and half 1 1/2 cup heavy cream whisk, whisk, whisk once it's heated through do a 1T butter to 1T flour Beurre Manie (my choice for thickening) add about a 1/2 cup of grated parm (the good stuff, not the canned stuff) and a dash of white pepper. The consistency should coat your spoon, but still have a slight drip. Does that make sense? It will...make it and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. And well...bowtie pasta just seemed like it would be a good fit..along with HEALTHY broccoli (ha!) and some marinated grilled chicken..but again..it's about the sauce.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giveaway!

It's been a little too long since I did a giveaway hasn't it? And it's about time! This summer I have been the VERY LUCKY recipient of a few giveaways! I won over at Moogie and Pap over the 4th of July! Two new cookbooks..and it's all cookies and Magnolia bakery Babies!! And an adorable apron that has a chalkboard on it...yes ON it! It's so much fun! Then I snagged some awesome mini cupcake liners from Ivy, they are SO cute! I was feeling generous..but couldn't really think of anything I had around here that anyone else would like when I got an email from MyBlogSpark with this giveaway opportunity that I knew you all would LOVE!! All of the stuff above in the picture I received (and you can to!) courtesy of MyBlogSpark and Yoplait! My issues with yogurt aren't a new blog topic...you guys know I have an issue with texture...you guys also know that Yoplait is my favorite brand! I just recently tried the Whips...what can I tell ya..I was nervous! It's like dessert! It's creamy, dreamy, and just wonderful! I had to exercise some SERIOUS portion control b/c I could have easy taken down 4-5 of those suckers! And oh yeah....everyone reading..can get a coupon for them HERE! (again Thanks to MyBlogSpark!) My Dad actually introduced me to frozen yogurt pops this summer for Little Miss, but we just would put a plastic spoon in the top, let it freeze, then cut the plastic away...I'm SO excited to use my new Popsicle freezers for them! They are so cute and look like ice cream cones!! I know Little Miss will love them...and I know I will too! I'm also loving my new insulated tote that keeps things cool for us while we're on the go this summer! So you want it, right? Well...I'm giving ya until Wednesday at 5pm (CST) to get entered! Just tell me....what do you do with yogurt?? Are you a purist that just eats it out of the cup? Do you put it into popsicles? Mix it into smoothies?? And why not give you another chance to win...follow me and I'll put you in for another entry!! You guys play nice...I'm off to start my first official week as Stay at Home Suzy (still weird!)..I've got a bed full of cheese crackers thanks to Little Miss, and a Little Mr who is a bit cranky b/c he's teething...maybe instead of a teething ring I'll just give him one of my fancy new popsicles... It's Monday...but it can be a great one! Today is #59 and the quote reads "It's not how good you are, but how bad you want it" Notice it doesn't say..you can still be bad and get what you want...I need to internalize that!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's beef, baby!

What do you call it? Italian beef? Drip beef? Heaven on a bun? It's good...I know that much! We're not italian...my husband has a cousin that thinks she is-and honestly since she married a full blooded italian, she's closer than the rest of us. Most of the time I rely on my favorite restaurants (both authentic and commercialized) for my fix...but on occassion I try my hands on 'classics'. Italian beef....juicy, flavorful, just a smidge spicy....yes, yes, please. I try to save money by cooking at home more...and this recipe mushed together from co-workers really works...REALLY works..yes..it needs to be said twice. Italian style drip beef 2-3lb chuck roast OR sirloin roast 1 pkg onion soup mix 1 pkg Au Jus mix 2T italian seasoning 2 beef bouillion cubes 2 cups water 1/2 stick butter 1/2 onion, chopped 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped 1/2 jar of sliced pepperocini peppers and the juice I mix everything (cept the roast) in a bowl then pour it over and put it in low and slow...I've even crock potted it....but low...like 275 or so..for about 5-6 hours. When it's ready, you'll know b/c it will pull apart VERY easily..as in fall apart when you touch it. Then you serve it up on hot buttery rolls with monterey jack cheese and homemade ranch dressing. Then your eyes roll back in your head. 65 days to go and the quote of the day is "Bigger snacks mean bigger slacks". Ha. I have to giggle at that one! My eating last night sucked. Badly. As in like 15 vanilla sandwich cookies dipped in milk bad. Oh..and a handful of Bottlecaps...oof. I guess that is what happens when you are an emotional eater who just put her two weeks notice in at work. That's right...starting..well now since I found out I don't even have to do a 2 week notice..I'm a stay a home Mom. I'm in shock. Really...I've had some sort of job..at least part time since I was 15...that's almost 13 years of working! And now I'm staying at home and watching my babies grow...it's what I've wanted for a long time..and now that it's real...it's gonna, well it's gonna take some getting used to!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Egg Salad, 66, and resisting temptation

My breakfast today was a cup of coffee...this was 'brunch'-I have a terrible habit when I'm off from work NOT eating breakfast. Which is terrible...my Dad chastizes me about it b/c what? OH it's the 'most important meal of the day'. But then my brain kicks in with 'you aren't supposed to eat if you aren't hungry'. See...alot of things work AGAINST one another don't they? So..my first cup of coffee gets guzzled.. (damn you Keurig for making it SOOOOO easy). My second cup gets sipped along with my 'brunch'..which I usually eat around 10 or so.
After I posted last week about my 'birthday goal' I made these. I went to a bunch of different websites for quotes and thought if I had a little tear off, quote a day thing, I'd get into it more. I haven't...but it was a good idea right?
This morning I woke up more resolved. Fueled by pictures that were taken of me over the weekend (barf.) I knew I had to change. I know NOW I HAVE to stick with it. I don't have a choice. I WILL hit my birthday goal...and I have 66 days to do it.
The quotes really are good...I can't help but really like the first one "Nothing changes if nothing changes" VERY true, right?
Last night I prayed (well..I pray every night, but anyway)-I prayed that I'd wake up with a drive to change. And you know what? I did. Baby Boy woke up and I nursed him, then instead of curling up and going back to sleep, I took him in the living room with me, turned on True Blood, pulled on my Shape-Ups, and got on the treadmill..I got in 30 minutes before my Toddler Girl woke up and wanted to exercise with me.
But it's 30 minutes more than I did yesterday!
I'm not sure why I opted for egg salad. It's not like it's especially healthy, OR that I especially like it. But I thought eggs='s protein, and um, I really need to do something with the hard boiled in the fridge...
Suzy's simple egg salad
4 hard boiled eggs, smash them up with a fork
1 T sweet pickle relish
1 T spicy mustard
1/4 cup light mayo
mixy-mixy.
I ate it over a simple salad that I dressed with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper.
And I ate it s.l.o.w.l.y. and now I'm pleasantly full. Meanwhile the bad boy below is staring me down on the stovetop...I had a LARGE piece yesterday, and I SHOULD have sent the rest home with my in-laws. I don't have the heart to throw it away...
I can't tell you HOW MANY TIMES I told myself this morning "Don't eat the cake for breakfast". The little devil on my shoulder kept whispering about how good it would go with my coffee...how much better it would taste than my egg salad...but I resisted. And then I looked at pictures of myself from this weekend again...and concentrated on feeling full and satisfied. So the poor cake will stay on the stove..and I will.not.touch.it.
In fact I should make it a point to not touch things like that for 66 days..it would be helpful to my goal...
oh and egg salad? it was good...I've never been a huge fan of it..but it was an excellent brunch and I have enough to do the same tomorrow if I want.