Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Club - Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright

'But not yet, first there was only this.  Only their heads were above the surface, laughing
 and encouraging him, as he moved gingerly in the bitter-cold water step by step 
towards them.  It was hard to move, while they waited with such generosity and welcome he 
could hardly bear his happiness.'

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jamie Oliver's Tear n Share Garlic Bread

Although my bread making has waned in the past month, for a while there I was really on a roll.  Making your own bread is so satisfying to me - fun and easy and nearly always delicious.  

This is Jamie Oliver's Tear n Share Garlic Bread - buns, really, all nestled together snug in a tray, and covered with garlic butter.  Yum!  

I was feeling quite proud of myself until the proofing stage - the recipe calls for 1 1/2 proofing and because our house was chilly, I set them in the oven with the light on.  It was too much of a good thing and they over-proofed.  They tasted fine but they looked awful.

They were, however, the hit of this particular Sunday dinner - this was the  one mentioned here with the super tough chicken that we all hated.  But the table looked nice.

I'd really like to get back into bread baking, but I'm having trouble finding good recipes and finding the time to find good recipes.  I made a "best ever" sandwich bread that hardly rose, and some so-so foccacia.  I still have a big stack of books to go through for my Instagram reviews, so hopefully I can find something in there, but if you have any winner bread recipes, drop me a line!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chicken Tacos

So easy, so delicious.
Toss your chicken breasts in a plastic bag with some:
ground cumin
chile powder
garlic powder

And mix it all together well.  Let the chicken sit in the spice rub while you prep your taco toppings and any side dishes and preheat your bbq.
Cook the chicken until done, then thinly slice.

Take your tortilla and layer on:
sliced chicken
sour cream
hot sauce

And whatever else your heart desires.

Quick and tasty.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Club - Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

'Ewan was in Star Wars mode again. "Charley," he told me, "be mindful of your thoughts for they betray you." '

'I gazed the length of the stillness to low walls and the flat envelopes of the desert beyond. The place was beautifully kept with cactus growing in spiky flowers between the silent graves.'

'Time and again we had seen the effects of war and brutality on this trip, just as we had ridden along the Road of Bones in Russia.  We had spoken to mine victims in Ethiopia, child soldiers in Uganda.  Now here again we were in a country that had been ripped apart by war; the genocide of a million civilians that, as Kagame said, had achieved absolutely nothing.  But in each of these countries we also found hope for the future.'

Monday, May 15, 2017

Snapshot - Happy Sunday

This week our Thistle Farms food box contained 2 very pretty carnations; a treat whether you're a mom or not.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cookie Cups

We have, much to the chagrin of myself and my expanding body, apparently become dessert people.  This has been caused by our Family Sunday Dinners with The Grandparents, so I blame them fully and completely.  It just doesn't seem like a complete dinner without something for dessert.  A terrible habit, which I want to break.  
But anyway, this dessert was for The Grandmother's Birthday!  I wanted to do something small, so there wouldn't be a lot of leftovers, and something a bit different.  I found this on Buzzfeed - cookie cups filled with no-bake cheesecake filling.

The cups were simple enough, although I balked at pressing the (store bought) dough into the muffin tins - I was afraid they would be impossible to remove, because it was taking a heck of a lot of force to squish it into the tins.  So instead we (The Mister helped with 2 before he lost interest and wandered away) flattened them into rounds in our hands and then formed them in the cups.  I don't know how easy they come out the original way, but these ones popped right out after baking and a few minutes of cooling.  

The filling was cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and vanilla. I didn't really follow the amounts, I just tossed in what I thought looked good.  I really really loved the filling.  I could have eaten a big bowl of it as is, but I didn't, thank God.

Here they are plated up and waiting while we hunted for a replacement candle for the one that broke in transport.  Admittedly they look very plain, but they were very very delicious.  I am not a big fan of cool whip, so I probably wouldn't make this particular filling again (but it was very good!) but the cookie cup idea I hope to remember, because they would be equally fun filled with fruit, ice cream, or even whipped cream.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett

Everyone has that one (or two, or 84) places on their bucket list that they would love to go to - say, Paris, or London, for some - and one of my dream destinations has always been to go to the Gulf Coast - to see the ocean and visit Texas, or Alabama, or Louisiana.  To see the water and the beaches and of course, eat the FOOD.  It's pretty unlikely that I will fulfill that dream to see that part of the world, but I feel a little closer to it thanks to Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett.

I am going to say right up front - I love everything about this book.  The photographs are gorgeous - food and scenery that leaps from the page to grab you.  Lucy's introduction shares a bit of her life story and her personality comes through.  One of my favorite parts of the book is her "Ten Grateful Ingredients For A Bright Life And A Happy Kitchen".  There is always room for more gratitude and optimism.

And the recipes!  Once you've read the short section on gulf coast cooking essentials - roux, file, stocks and more - you get to Chapter 1 - desserts first!  This made me happy and continues the wonderful tone of the book.  In total there are 10 chapters of recipes and one of menu planning and suggestions.  The book covers a lot of territories - snacks, mains, vegetables, salads,  sandwiches, drinks, sauces, and soups and - yes, lots of Gumbo.

The recipes are clear and easy to follow, with helpful hints substitutions offered by Lucy.  Most recipes are a page to a page and a half long, and none feel overly complicated or daunting.

I wanted to start with a gumbo (of course!) and  we chose Gumbo Z'Herbe or Green Gumbo - loaded with veggies and greens and sausage.  It took about 2 hours to make, and was AMAZING.  Even the kids ate some, which is high praise.  The Mister and I loved it and each had 2 bowls and argued over the leftovers.  It was a dish I was pretty impressed with myself for making - damn, I'm good.

To make the gumbo I also had to whip up a batch of Lulu's Crazy Creola Seasoning.  Simple but has a total punch of flavor.

We also tried the Salted Butterscotch Blondies (without the optional but encouraged icing) which were very easy to make and very very delicious.  I took some to work to share and not only did they disappear quickly, but I had multiple requests for the recipe.

I whipped up a batch of Wow Sauce, a spicy and flavorful sauce to spread on pretty much anything you can think of, and a batch of the Fresh Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread, which was another amazing recipe.  The Mister and I both loved it a lot, but the real fan was the 2 year old, who parked herself at the table and ate the cheese spread on carrots and celery until we feared there would be none left for us, and we took it away from her.

The last dish we tried was the Easy Breezy Island Shrimp Curry, which was so easy and so delicious - everyone loved it. (The book calls for serving with rice or spinach, but we went with noodles for the kids and it was very good.)

That's all we've tried so far, but I have a super long list of recipes I want to try soon, including Honey Ale Pimento Cheese, Garlicky Good-Woman Chicken, Southern Fried Cream Corn, Chocolate Angel Food Cake, and French Onion Soup.  Yum!

Gumbo Love is being released tomorrow, and I really encourage you to buy it. It's a fun, informative and above all delicious book.  It's really great.

Thank you so much, Hachette Books!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Easter Dinner - butternut squash and apple crisp

I have no photos from our Easter dinner - it was madness as usual, trying to get everything to the table at the same time, all still hot.  As much as I dream about owing a bakery/cafe, I would not be good at the cooking part because I have terrible timing to get things all ready at the same time.

We did a ham, and it was fine.  There were scalloped potatos, and roasted beets, and peas, and some raw veggies too, and a very nice pureed butternut squash, courtesy of Pioneer Woman.
The recipe could not be simpler, and even The Boy liked it, although he did not want to admit it.

I made a good apple crisp too; not too sweet, which is the way we like it.  I made it ahead of time and then after the ham was out and the oven was off I put the crisp back in the oven to warm up while we ate.  There was vanilla ice cream and coconut whip cream on the side.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Something I Like - The Leather Special

"My dad, like, has MS and is in a wheelchair and it's, like, I'm just psyched I can fucking move.  How are you going to complain? Shut the fuck up. You're alive. You can move. You feel good!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tiny Happy Tuesday

Hillary has started Tiny Happy Tuesday - what are you grateful for today? 

I'm moving slow this morning - The Boy threw up at 3am, the second time in 4 nights this has happened.  WTF?  He has no symptoms of anything.  By the time we got him and everything else cleaned up (shudder) and laundry started, there was no point in going back to sleep.

I wish The Mister was up right now to make me another breakfast taco, like this one that he surprised me with the other weekend.  Lookit!

The Boss snuck out and bought us doughnuts from PDK Cafe, which I haven't been to yet and if my pants ever stop hurting I will have to check out.  This was toasted coconut and it was amazing.

Yesterday morning the sunrise was so beautiful and strong while I was practicing my yoga.  I turned off the lights so it was just me and Mother Nature.

I had to stop mid pose and grab my phone to take this one.

And then again, a couple of minutes later.  Come on!  So pretty.

(I am also grateful for our new washing machine as it cleans up the boys sheets and blankets and towels after our night.....)