You may have noticed things have been quiet here on the recipe-front as of late. There’s a good reason for it, and it’s not just because by the time I put at least one and possibly two kids to bed for the night the only thing I can muster up the energy to do is binge-watch Breaking Bad in an effort to catch up before the series finale (for the record, I have 5 episodes left). It’s also not because I have been having a hard time taking pictures that look enticing lately (though I have). And it’s definitely not because I’m pregnant (no way). It’s because my computer won’t turn on. The computer that houses all those not-terribly-enticing-but-still-worthy-of-being-blogged pictures. I’m not sure that I’ll ever get them back at this point, but we’ll see.

I thought rather than have the blog go dark, I’d do a more personal post, just sharing some things going on in our lives right now. Feel free to completely ignore this post if you are uninterested in the somewhat boring lives of our little family.

For the past few months we’ve been house-searching and it’s not been going the best. We’re looking in the suburbs, which we essentially know nothing about, and just haven’t found “the one.” Two houses may have been the one, but we were too late to really do anything about it, unfortunately. That said, we have gotten to see some very lovely houses, both in person and via MLS listings. I’m pretty sure there is some unwritten rule that if you live in the suburbs, every surface must be covered in wallpaper or wood paneling.

I haven’t shared any pictures of Ian since introducing him, so that must be remedied. I’m terribly biased, but he’s one of the cutest babies I know, for sure. He also smiles all.the.time. Really, he is pretty much the happiest baby ever. Thank goodness. He’s made the transition to two much easier.

Ian is going to be 6 months old soon (where does the time go?!) and we started him on solids just about a week ago. I was going to wait until he hit 6 months like we did with Z, but since he was showing all the signs and the pediatrician thought it might help curb some of his spitting up, we went ahead and introduced avocado followed by sweet potatoes at around 5.5 months. So far, so good. I apologize in advance if you are one of those people who is really disgusted by pictures of babies with food on their faces, but I’m not and, like I said, my baby is damn cute. So, here he is enjoying avocado for the first time.

Zachary is your typical 3 year old, which is to say he’s equal parts hilarious/fun and terrible. Well, maaaaaybe it’s closer to 40/60 these days. I’m sure you’ve seen the site Reasons My Son is Crying? Let’s just say we could submit plenty of things there, like, oh I don’t know, the fact that even though he won Uno, he forgot to say Uno when he had one card left? The defiance these days is through the roof, but when he’s good he’s really good and SO much fun. Recently, he’s started reading some words here and there by sounding them out, which is just really awesome to see. That little boy has been book-obsessed since he was a baby, so it excites him, too, that he is starting to read. He’s also been kicking my ass at the matching game. When I look at pictures of him, I sometimes can’t believe how big he’s gotten. Does he not look about 12 in the swing pic? Geez. Must be growing due to all the kale he steals while I’m trying to prep dinner.

 

More random stuff:

Next week, I plan on heading to the food and wine event Kouzina at the National Hellenic Museum. Is anyone else going? If so, let me know; I’d love to meet you!

Are you looking forward to the start of fall TV programs? I’m really looking forward to Sherlock, though it’s looking like that will be more of a winter premiere! I’ll also be watching the last season (finally) of How I Met Your Mother, as well as New Girl, Parks and Rec (though I am literally so upset about the departure of Rob Lowe & Rashida Jones), and a few others. The chef from a restaurant I adore (Mexique) will be on Top Chef this season, so that’s exciting too!

Would you recommend any music? I’ve been in a bit of a music funk lately. I’ve been listening to a lot of the same stuff over and over, but a few that have gotten a lot of play lately are The Head and the Heart, Divine Fits, and Dirty Projectors.  I’ve also resurrected Veruca Salt albums after getting a wee bit excited that they are reuniting (!!!) and yesterday I listened to Blur pretty much all day long, because I hadn’t listened to Blur in entirely too long. And the time in between listening to any Fiona Apple record is never very long.

I went to Target recently, and I’m in love with their Windham collection. Now, if only I could find a house to put some of these cute cabinets in. And of course this side table that I adore.

And finally, to keep this food related, some recipes I’ve bookmarked lately:

 

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Edamame Succotash

September 4, 2013 · 6 comments

in vegetables

 

I have the world’s most un-picky toddler (at least, when it comes to food), and for that I am thankful.  I’d like to think I had something to do with it, but I guess I can’t take all the credit. This weekend, my dad (one of the world’s most picky eaters) and stepmom came to visit and we went out to eat a couple of times. Each time, to no one’s surprise, Zachary cleaned his plate. The weekend before, my aunt and uncle were here and watched him devour calamari, tentacled pieces and all. And a few days before that, we went to lunch and rather than order from the kid’s menu, Zachary decided he wanted a fish taco.

There’s nothing this kid doesn’t eat. It took him 3 years to warm up to eggs and mashed potatoes, but now he likes those too. I asked him to tell pappou (grandpa) a food he didn’t like, and he said, “No foods! I like ALL kinds of food!” I love it, but ask me again when he’s 13 and eating me out of house and home. If Ian eats similarly (signs point to him doing so), we’ll need second and third jobs just to pay for their food.

It’s a rare night when Z tries something new. At this age, I feel like we’ve tried pretty much everything. But edamame? That was a new one for him.  And he really liked it. And so did we! I will admit to only having edamame a couple times myself. I pinned this recipe many moons ago but wanted to wait until corn and tomatoes were in season to make it. It was such a light, fresh side dish, and so easy to put together. The most time consuming part? The chopping. The most difficult part? Making sure your 3 year old doesn’t get his hand cut off when he reaches up to the cutting board to eat the corn you’re trying to cut off the cob.

There’s only one slice of bacon in here (typical for a Cooking Light recipe) but I was surprised at how much the flavor of it came through. The dish is bright and tasty and is versatile enough to pair well with many main courses. Plus, in addition to getting all the nutrition from the vegetables, you even get a little protein boost from the edamame. Win-win.

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Woohoo! Chocolate!

Want to win some chocolate? Great! Here’s your chance. The lovely people at Sucré are offering up a pack of all 7 of their chocolate bars to one very lucky reader. Sucré, located in New Orleans, makes fabulous chocolate, macarons, and even king cake.

Unfortunately for me but fortunately for Tom, I could only snag a bite of these here and there. Ian seems to be getting over his dairy sensitivity slowly, but I don’t want to overdo it. Which is really hard when there is delicious chocolate involved, by the way. To no one’s surprise, each bar was delicious but I think my favorites were probably the pistachio & rose and the nibs & brittle.

But, you be the judge.

Enter to win a Sucré  7-bar chocolate collection:

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me what your perfect candy bar is (it can already exist, or be a combination you make up)
  • One entry per person. Keep in mind that comments are moderated, so if you don’t see your comment posted immediately, do not post another.
  • Giveaway closes on Sunday, September 8th at 11:59 p.m. CST. The winner will be notified via email.

 

Disclaimer: Sucre is sponsoring this giveaway. They provided me with a package of chocolate bars. Any opinions expressed are my own.

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My friend Jessica from Sunny Side Up is having a baby! Baby girl, Maeve (love that name so much), is going to be here soon, and to celebrate, Krystal from Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate and Jessica from My Baking Heart are hosing a virtual baby shower. The name Maeve is of Irish descent and Jessica loves Irish dancing, so we’re celebrating Irish pot-of-gold style.

Like your typical person who knows next to nothing about Irish cuisine, the first thing that came to mind was something with Guinness. Perhaps not the best choice for a pregnant lady, but the vast majority of the alcohol is cooked off, so it’s okay. :) Guinness pot pie seemed too heavy for a shower (particularly at the end of August) so I decided to go with sliders instead.

The steak (I decided to use flank) is marinated in a mixture of Guinness, soy sauce, Worcestershire, molasses, garlic, onions, and rosemary. And? It’s oh so good. Some of the marinade is reserved and boiled down to spoon over the steak, so all those flavors really come through. Admittedly, I thought it might be a little too salty, especially the reduced marinade, but I needn’t have been worried. The molasses added just the right amount of sweetness, and the flavors in the soy and Guinness paired perfectly with the mushrooms and onions too. I would definitely use this marinade again (bonus: you only use 1 cup of stout, so you have drink the rest).

Make sure you stop by and congratulate Jessica, and be sure to check Krystal and Jessica’s pages for the full round-up of all the delicious offerings!

 

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If you could throw a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher, it would officially be the greatest invention ever made.

I’m a bit cast iron skillet obsessed, and probably need to attend some sort of addicts meeting. It always seems that every other picture on my camera is in a cast iron skillet. Cast iron just makes things better. And  there are so many complete meals you can make with just one cast iron skillet. Oh, also, frequent cast iron skillet usage is correlated to big muscles.

This recipe is great because it’s an all-in-one dinner (though we did have a salad with this, because I always feel the need for something green) that’s easy and fairly quick. Chicken is browned until the skin is nice and crisp, and then it’s tossed with potatoes, mushrooms fresh rosemary and lemon, and finished off in the oven. It is quite lemony, so if you don’t want the lemon flavor to be fairly prominent, you may want to cut down. Personally, I love lemon and find the amount to be great. This dish is actually pretty similar to Greek lemon-oregano roasted chicken except of course rosemary replaces the oregano.

I used thighs when I made this but the original recipe calls for breasts, and you could also just use a whole cut-up chicken (though you’ll want to cut the pieces so they are fairly equal in size and cook evenly).  It’s easily adaptable so you can really use any herb you want, or even swap out the mushrooms for a green vegetable. And it’s a great way to get a roasted chicken dish on the table in under an hour.

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YOU GUYS! These tacos? They are so, so good. Like, I-want-to-be-one-of-those-families-who-has-a-Taco-Tuesday-and-have-these-be-our-weekly-tacos good.

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked in Mexican Everyday for ages, and I’m so angry it took me so long to make them. I have been missing out for way, way too long. These are easily some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten, and I have eaten a lot of tacos.

Plus? They really couldn’t be any easier. You just cook some chorizo (really, you could just stop right there and these would be great since anything that starts with chorizo is delicious), add some mushrooms and grated potato (I know, kinda weird, right?) and you’re done. Somehow, with those few ingredients and minimal cooking time, something wonderful happens. Zachary actually asked if these were hash browns and admittedly, they are pretty similar (assuming you eat super tasty hash browns), so if you don’t want to eat them as tacos, you could always serve them with an egg and be done. Or, I don’t know, just spoon directly from the pan into  your mouth.

 

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Zachary has the best memory. If I don’t want to leave home without something or forget an item at the store, I just ask Zachary to remind me. He’s really good at reminders. Ever since having this “cold oatmeal” for the first time, he’s been reminding me every weekend eve to prep it (during the week he eats breakfast at school). We actually had a meltdown on a recent Saturday morning where we couldn’t eat this because I didn’t have any yogurt to make it the night before. You’d think I’d decided to just not give him breakfast altogether or something. Or boil him in oil. (Sometimes during the most epic of tantrums, I imagine that’s what the neighbors think we must be doing.)

A while back, I had a coupon for a free Swiss oatmeal. It sounded really weird to me. Cold oatmeal? I mean, I don’t even like hot oatmeal all that much, and this seemed even less likely to be tasty. But it was free, right? So I got it, and I was so surprised at how much I liked it. I had been seeing overnight oats all around the blogosphere and honestly didn’t even realize it was the same thing (probably because I scroll past many an oatmeal post). The night before you plan on eating this, you mix together oats and milk. There’s no cooking involved. As I was skimming recipes, I noticed some called for draining the milk the next morning whereas others didn’t. Some mixed in yogurt and some didn’t. Ultimately, I went with the easiest approach—mix together the milk, oats, and yogurt the night before. No draining required.

The next morning, you just add your favorite fruits, nuts, whatever you want, really. Sometimes I’ll also add raisins the night prior so they plump a bit overnight. Honestly, the best way I can think to describe this is yogurt with soft oats mixed in. I realize that doesn’t sound like the most appealing thing, but it’s quite good. And, it’s a great cold breakfast alternative to cereal. Healthier, too.

I’ve used almond milk and almond “yogurt” here, but obviously you can use the standard cow’s milk equivalents. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine coconut milk/yogurt would also be great. Which actually just made me think I should add toasted coconut to this next time, regardless. I’ll tell Zachary to remind me. :)

 

 

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One of the benefits of living in the Midwest, people tout, is that you get to experience all 4 seasons. I’m not so sure about that. I find that our only “springtime” tends to be that 3 day period between having the heat on to cranking the air. Fall fairs a little bit better, where you may actually get a week or two of nice temperatures in between gross humidity and 2 feet of snow. But this year? Summer is looking very springy. And I love it. We’ve really only had a week or two of that gross humidity and 90+ temps (and sure, for me, one of those days was spent with thousands of  other people below Wrigley Field waiting out a lightning storm for nearly 2.5 hours so a Pearl Jam concert could resume). This week, temperatures have been in the 70s and absolutely gorgeous. Some people are complaining about it, but me? I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

As you can probably tell, I’m not really a huge fan of the summer we typically experience here. But one thing that’s always good about summer? The produce. We eat copious amounts of sweet berries, devour watermelon, and relish in fresh tomatoes. It’s pretty hard to not like summer, if for nothing other than its bountiful produce.

This salad uses some of those great fresh tomatoes alongside green beans, mixed greens, basil, potatoes, and goat cheese. It makes for a great side or meal on its own, or serve it with a chicken breast for something more substantial. I decided to blanch the green beans and roast the potatoes (the original recipe calls for steaming both), and also made my vinaigrette a bit more acidic (personal preference). I think the goat cheese rounds would also be fabulous if a little panko was added to the coating and they were pan-fried, so I might try that next time.

 

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Even as recently as a decade ago (is a decade ago “recent?” I’m going to say when you’re over 30, you’d like to think your twenties were recent…), I would have turned my nose up at this salsa. I didn’t like avocados at the time (seriously), and as much as I like sweet & salty combos when it comes to desserts, I’ve never really been a fan of fruit & savory combos. Thankfully, I have started loving avocado—maybe a little bit too much—and I’m slowly getting over my fruit-in-things-that-are-not-pies aversion. I have no clue why, but pineapple seems to be one of the best ways to get over it. You’d think pairing one of the sweetest fruits would backfire, but for whatever reason it just seems to work.

This salsa is perfect for summer to use up those ripe tomatoes and sweet pineapple. It can be served alongside tortilla chips for an easy appetizer or side, or together with your favorite protein. We had this over zesty rubbed pork tenderloin, which was such a great accompaniment. That little bit of heat and warm spice in the pork (I actually doubled the allspice this time around) went perfectly with this fresh and tangy salsa. I diced everything a little bigger than I would had I been making this as a salsa to serve with tortilla chips, so you may want to be a little more diligent with your knife if you’re making this as a traditional salsa.

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Breakfast for dinner (“brinner”) used to be a rarity, but if you pay any attention to our meal plan on the sidebar, you’ll have noticed that it comes into play a LOT lately. It’s just so quick and easy, can often be made meatless or with very little meat, and everyone enjoys it. So while the idea of breakfast for dinner may not elicit as much excitement as before (except from Zachary, who is always excited for pancakes – then again, he is always just excited for food in general), it’s always great to find a new recipe for the rotation.

Enter these pancakes. These are some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made, and easily rival my standby recipe, despite being dairy free. I made these twice in two weeks and I’m sure I’ll make them plenty more times. I added some shredded coconut to the original recipe (and topped it with a little toasted coconut) but without those changes these aren’t overtly coconut-y and could easily be a basic recipe you use for mix ins. Or, just keep the coconut and add some slivered almonds & chocolate chips to make almond joy pancakes. Hey, you’re already having breakfast for dinner – might as well have dessert for dinner, too.

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