Real Food for Real Life

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not quite a hoedown...

Grilled Chipotle Lime Pork, Loaded Hoecake, 
Cucumber Salad, and lightly dressed bibb lettuce

Yesterday's morning dig through the freezer found some nice boneless pork, and since it was a sunny (if not particularly warm) day, I decided to grill them.  Not in the mood to barbecue them, I concocted a simple marinade from pantry staples, and it turned out very tasty indeed (the little guy didn't even complain about the bit of heat).  I love to eat cornbread with grilled (esp. BBQ) pork, but Ben complains if I make it too often.  Undeterred (yes, I can be a bit stubborn), I decided to make hoecakes, but not any hoecake, a loaded, savory one.  For those who may be unfamiliar, a hoecake is merely a pancake made with cornmeal, but a favorite of the south, as well as the northeast, where they call they johnny cakes.  To finish out the meal, we had a simple cucumber salad and torn bibb lettuce dressed in the same vinegar as the cukes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I needed to go to the grocery...

Sauteed Edamane with Bell Pepper

I was making Ranch Breaded Chicken for dinner and needed some veg for the side.  I unfortunately had not been to the grocery for a while (shocking, I know), and was just about out of fresh produce, except for some orange and yellow bell peppers (I keep finding these on sale).  A dig through the freezer only uncovered okra and edamame, and well,, the okra was out.  I gave the frozen edamame pods a cook in the microwave before popping the beans out of the pod; this was easy, but it did take a bit of time to get through two pounds.  I diced up one of the bell peppers and sauteed that with the beans in some butter at a fairly high heat.  The veggies got a nice caramelization while retaining their crispness, and the butter itself browned, giving a nice nuttiness to the dish.

Sauteed Edamame with Bell Pepper
2 lbs. frozen edamame (you'll need this much to feed four)
1 bell red, orange, or yello bell pepper, diced
3 tbs. butter (do not substitute margarine)
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Place the frozen pods in a large microwave safe bowl and cover with a microwave safe plate.  Cook on high for 15 minutes, giving a good stir halfway.  Squeeze the pods and the beans will pop right out.  Saute in butter with the diced bell pepper over medium high heat until nicely browned, but still crisp, about 10 minutes.  Season to taste and serve.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Now back to business...

Hot Capicola and Spicy Asian Subs

Now that the excitement over my first award has subsided a bit, I can do the post that I intended for yesterday :)  This past weekend it was just Ben and I home, and while we did not get much accomplished (as planned), it was a relaxing weekend (despite, or maybe because of, the rain).  When it is just the two of us we like to eat all those spicy things that we adore, but the kids can't handle.  For lunch on Saturday I pulled out two 12-inch sweet Italian rolls and made subs (beat these Subway!!).
While the oven was preheating to 350, I split the rolls.  I layered the bottom of one with a generous amount of sliced red onion, the other with fresh jalapeno slices (they were HUGE chilies).
On top of the onion went 8 ounces of spicy capicola; on the jalapenos went the leftover Sesame Ginger Pork from a few nights before, complete with the leftover scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
About two tablespoons light mayo to one tablespoon siracha, although I could have safely done equal quantities (for us anyway).
The capicola was topped with pepperjack, and the pork with Swiss, before going into the oven for about 10-12 minutes.  The meat warmed through, the cheese melted, and the tops of the rolls crisped up nicely.  The capicola got a spread of regular light mayo, while the pork got the siracha and mayo mix.  I also sprinkled fresh cilantro leaves on the pork.
I cut these toasty babies and Ben and I took a half of each.  The verdict:  the capicola wasn't bad, but would have been better served by some sort of garlicky and buttery roll, rather than the sweet Italian.  For the pork, however, the slightly sweet roll was the perfect foil for the spiciness of the sandwich.  Ben declared that the sandwich rivaled any that he had had before, and thought that I should develop the recipe for entry to next season's Ultimate Recipe Showdown.  Interesting proposition. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

My first award...

This is too cool...I opened up  my blog this morning to do a new post and found that I had won my first blog award!  This is the Happy 101 award given to me by Sandi at A New York Foodie.  I want to send a big thank you Sandi's way :)  The purpose of these awards is to show appreciation for our fellow bloggers, and recognize the blogs that we keep coming back to; as such, this award comes with a few stipulations:
The rules of accepting this award are as follows:
-Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
-Pass the award onto 10 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
-Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
-Lists things that make you happy.

Things that make me happy
1. My husband and children, they mean the world to me...
2. My friends, the good ones are hard to come by and truly precious...
3. Good food...making it, and most importantly, eating it...
4. Good books of all sorts...
5. My little corgi girl Shelby...
6.Making a meaningful contribution to the world, however small...

Now for the Happy 101 Award, I congratulate the following sites:
2   Kristy at Cakes by Kristy
3.  Ron at Inspire!
4. Dana at Fleur de Sel
6.  Memoria at Mangio de Sola
7.  Elly at elly says ropa!
8.  Bridgette at La Bella Cook
9.  Madelyn at Karma-Free Cooking

Thanks again Sandi, and I hope everyone takes a moment to check out these blogs, I think you will find the time spent well worth it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Not our regular cube steak...

Sesame Ginger Pork with Pickled Ginger and White Rice

I found pork cube steaks on sale at Kroger this week at such a great price that I couldn't pass them by.  I've never cooked with the pork steaks before, but with the beef cube steaks I really love to make a Cuban dish called Bistec de Palomilla made with lime juice and lots of sauteed onions (I promise I'll share that one some time), but with the pork I felt like going in an Asian flavor direction.  A few pantry staples later and we had a very tasty pork dish for dinner.  When Chris saw the jar of pickled ginger on the counter, he wanted to know where the sushi was...I assured him it would taste good with what we were having, and it did.  A romaine and cucumber salad dressed in a ginger vinaigrette was all we needed to complete this meal.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Joining the crowd...

Image courtesy of the Food Network

Everywhere it seems lately, I am seeing the baked shrimp scamp recipe from Ina Garten's latest book, Back to Basics.  I even saw it in last month's issue of Real Simple magazine (without credit given to Ina), and most recently in Sandi's A New York Foodie blog.  If you are looking for more great cooking, plus beautiful food photography, be sure to pay Sandi a visit.

I decided that I needed to make this dish, because, not only did I not want to be left out, but I love shrimp and this looked really, really good.  When I was looking at the recipe, I decided to add some pasta to the mix, but not in the traditional way.  I had a box of DaVinci ravioletti (teeny, tiny cheese ravioli), and thought they would make a fine bed for the scampi.  I only used one pound of shrimp, but left the topping the same (enough for 2 lbs.), figuring that the excess could serve as the sauce for the pasta.  Oh my gosh, was this ever good- I will do this one again, pasta and all!! 

Now, to admit to my scatter brainness- the picture above is from the Food Network site...when I went to upload my beautiful pictures for this post, I found that I had somehow taken them on the video setting (big sigh here).  Not being very techno savvy, I have been unable to figure out how to get screen shots of the pics (I originally wanted to do this post on Monday), hence the borrowed photo.  Just imagine parting that crispy topping the reveal, first the shrimp, then the little pasta pillows bathed in the buttery, lemony goodness...that is what we had, umm, umm, umm!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A lot of pesto...

Rotini with Arugula Pesto, 
Lemon Baked Salmon, and Stuffed Clams

This has been a busy, busy week, and while I have still been cooking, I haven't been writing about it (sorry).  One of the dishes we had this week was an adaptation (but, of course) of a recipe I found at Mama Jan's Kitchen, another of my regular food blog reads.  This recipe, originally from Giada DeLaurentis, called for spinach and Asiago cheese, neither of which I had on hand.  I did however have an unopened package of baby arugula and a wedge of Parmesan cheese, so I went with it.  I also added more garlic than called for (love it),some lemon juice to brighten it (and help keep that beautiful color), and I tossed the rotini with a bit of cream before mixing in the pesto to enrich the dish.  Served with some shaved Parmesan, this was a truly satisfying dish, and went especially well with the Lemon Baked Salmon and stuffed clams that we had with it.

This recipe made a LOT of pesto.  After tossing some of the pesto with the 12oz. of whole wheat pasta I had cooked, I still had a lot left in the food processor.  Out can a brick of cream cheese to mix with a couple tablespoons of the pesto (yum), and I still had about a half cup left.  This last bit I spooned into a small container and stashed it away in the freezer after giving it a thin coating of extra virgin olive oil.  I love when a simple recipe can serve so many purposes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A weekend breakfast...

tacos de huevos con chorizo

I still had leftovers from our dinner of al pastor the other night, as well as a pound of loose Mexican chorizo in the fridge, so yesterday I made one of my favorite weekend breakfasts.  This is a simple breakfast to put together, and can be as simple as just the eggs and chorizo in a tortilla, to offering all sorts of "toppings" and a side of frijoles (beans).  This makes a lot of food, so feed a crowd, or stash the leftovers in the fridge, they are still fantastic after a gentle (low power) reheating in the microwave.

Tacos de Huevos con Chorizo
1 lb. Mexican chorizo, loose, or removed from casings
10-12 eggs (I only had 10)
To serve: corn or flour tortillas and anything your heart desires

In a large bowl, whip the eggs until frothy, set aside.  In a large non-stick skillet, cook the chorizo, breaking it up into small pieces.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain (very important), wiping the excess fat from the pan if it is more than a light coating.  Add the eggs to the pan and scramble over medium heat until about 1/2 cooked.  Sprinkle on the cooked chorizo and finish cooking, folding the chorizo lightly into the eggs.  Spoon into a serving bowl and take to the table with whatever you are having with the eggs.
Ready to go to the table.
We had fresh pineapple, guacamole, chopped cilantro and onions, salsa ranchera, fresh jalapeno slices, crumbled queso cotija, and flour tortillas.  The little guy had mild taco sauce on his, and don't feel that you have to use a Mexican cheese, shredded cheddar or monterey jack are good as well.We usually have beans with this as well, and I prefer corn to flour tortillas, but hey, you use what you have. 
This is why it is important to drain the chorizo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I love reading food blogs...

 Roast Pork with Baked Chickpeas and Steamed Broccoli

It wasn't until I started writing my own back in October that I really started reading food blogs, but I am hooked.  I have my list of favorites that I check for new posts, but also look at a random 10 new ones daily from the Foodie Blog Roll.  One of my favorites is One Perfect Bite, written by Mary.  A few days ago she had a recipe for a Black Eyed Pea Casserole that sounded quite delicious.  I thought I would give it a try, but a search of the pantry did not uncover any black eyed peas (I really thought I had some), but I did find chickpeas (which I actually like better anyway).  I was also lacking the fresh herbs, the orange, and the molasses (I used the last of that in the Cincinnati Chili).  Undeterred in my quest for a different kind of "baked bean," I substituted and riffed and made it my own. isn't that what cooking is about anyway?  Take the time to give Mary's lovely blog a read and make one or both of these recipes, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Cincinnati favorite...

A 3-Way with Frank's Red Hot

In the Cincinnati area we like to eat a Greek inspired chili quite unlike the Tex-Mex chili that most people think of.  For a brief history of this chili and an alternate recipe click here.  I have made this chili for years using ground turkey (not traditional, I know), but I have made it before with beef, and with all the flavoring going into it I did not notice much (if any) taste difference, so I'll stick with the healthier (and usually cheaper) ground turkey.  

When I was looking in the freezer for inspiration the other morning, I unearthed a package of ground turkey and asked Chris if he wanted chili spaghetti (what we call it) for dinner.  His reply..."Yes!!  Chili spaghetti!"  So that decided that.  We eat this with just shredded cheese (not as much as you would get in a local chili parlor), known as a 3-way, and hot sauce for Ben and I.  Add chopped onions and make it a 4-way, add kidney beans and make it a 5-way.  However you choose to eat it, it will be good.  Also try using it to make a chili dog- steamed hot dog, mustard, chopped onion, and cheese, or not, in a bun, again with hot sauce if desired.  Another use for the chili is what  is known locally as Skyline Dip, after Skyline Chili, one of the most famous of the Cincinnati chili parlors.  The name refers to the Cincinnati skyline, which is a pretty cool view crossing the river from Kentucky.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cilantro love...

 al pastor de pollo y chrorizo

Yesterday, before I had decided what I would be making for dinner, I posted a New York Times article to the blog's Facebook page about some people's dislike of cilantro.  No doubt influenced by the article, and the fact that I happen to love cilantro (I rank it as a favorite herb), I decided on a cilantro heavy, Mexican inspired dinner.  My favorite peurco mexicano after carnitas is al pastor,.  While I did not have the pork to make this, I really wanted the flavor, so I substituted chicken, and also threw in some chorizo (I love that too).  The chicken, chorizo, and pineapple were grilled up nice before getting a rough chop and toss together.  This was served with flour tortillas (Ben and I roll them up and eat them like bread, while the kids fill them as tacos), a chunky guacamole/pico de gallo hybrid (made with fresh cilantro), chopped cilantro and onions, lime wedges, and finally, some crumbled cotija cheese.  (Wow, did I really just get six embedded links in that short bit of writing?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easy salads for busy days...

 Image courtesy of the New York Times (online edition)
 Warm weather means salad several times a week, and I don't mean the simple chopped romaine that we eat several times a week, year round, but salads made with just about anything, salads as main courses,salad, salad, salad.  Last year I posted a New York Times article by Mark Bittman that gave ideas for 101 simple salads for the season, and I am reposting that here.  Give this a look and I am sure you will be filled with inspiration.

Last week Bittman had an article about the loser lettuces romaine and iceberg.  As I said above, we eat romaine weekly, but iceberg we have rarely (it is all I ever had as a salad green growing up).  The wedge of iceberg with bleu cheese dressing did look good, however, so we had that as a side salad a few days ago.  The iceberg was a nice crispy contrast to the creamy richness of the bleu cheese, and we certainly have this again.  Just top a cold wedge of iceberg with a good quality dressing, homemade or purchased, and sprinkle with additional bleu cheese crumbles and a few grindings from the pepper mill.

Monday night I really wanted fried chicken, but this is not something I make, not liking the whole "frying" aspect of it.  My compromise is the fried chicken from the Kroger deli, which the whole family enjoys, hot or cold (great for picnics).  And, at $5.99 for 8 pieces, it is a bargain in my eyes for not having to fry it myself.  To go with the chicken I just threw together a simple macaroni salad, but not the limp,  mayo drenched macaroni salad of my youth, but a lightly dressed one full of crunchy veg.  This one is no more complicated than elbow macaroni cooked al dente, diced bell pepper (I used orange), diced red onion, and frozen peas (don't bother to thaw them).  Toss these together with just enough of your favorite ranch dressing to lightly coat, and again, the quality of the dressing is important.  I had added some sliced ripe olives, but they added nothing to the salad, so I won't use them again, although some crumbled crispy bacon would have been really good.  Since there is no mayo in this salad, it would be perfect for a picnic (along with that cold fried chicken :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The weather's fine...

Grilled Strip Steak with Fresh Chimichurri, 
Steamed Asparagus, and Cucumber Salad

I love spring time (and summer, and fall), and I love easy meals made on the grill, and we have had a lot of those lately.  Last week we had some lovely strip steaks topped with a fresh chimichurri, an Argentinaian sauce that I adore.  There is a chimichurri sauce by Badia that we really like, but at four and change for a small jar, it can be pricey to use in quantity.  The ingredients are few and easily found, so I decided to make my own, and I'm glad I did-  it was fresh, tangy, and garlicky, just as I wanted.
Last night we had Ina Garten's Tuscan Lemon Chicken again, but this time I also used her recipe for garlic bread and I think it was the best I have ever had.  I did not have the fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried at 1/3 the quantity, and I used ciabatta rolls instead of the loaf, but it was wonderful.  I wrapped the rolls up in foil and Ben threw them on the grill with the chicken, and even foil wrapped, they managed to crisp up, um, um, um.  Give both of these recipes a try, but probably not at the same time (unless you are suffering from a vampire infestation).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Working over spring break...

Chicken Satay with Grilled Scallions, Red pepper, and Naan

With it being spring break and no kids at home, Ben and I have been busy turning the kids bathroom into a spa-like oasis...Chris so graciously told me last week that he thought he was old enough to give up the bright colors and his lion towel.  So gone now are the bright yellow walls, replaced with a nice calming oceany bluey green, frameless shower doors to replace he shower curtain (amazing how much larger the room seems), and all new fittings and accessories, including big, fluffy white towels.  Now we are just waiting for liquid nails and caulk to set up before we finish up...I'll see about posting a photo once it's all done.
Last night's dinner could not have been any easier...a had a jar of A Taste of Thai Peanut Satay Sauce, and a package of naan, a flatbread you may be familiar with if you have ever eaten at an Indian restaurant.  Add a package of boneless chicken breasts, a large red bell pepper, and a bunch of scallions and dinner would be complete.  I cut the chicken into strips and marinated them a while in about 1/2 of the jar of sauce before threading them on wooden skewers (soak these at least 1/2 hour before using).  I trimmed the onions, cut the pepper into large slices, and halved the naan, making everything ready to go on the grill.  The chicken and veg took no more than ten minutes over high heat on the gas grill, plus a couple more for the naan.  I served this with the rest of the sauce (I did add some salt and crushed red pepper flake to this) and lime wedges.  This was delicious and easy, but I think next time I will make my own sauce, I found this one just a tad too sweet with no heat, although it would certainly be kid friendly left as is.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A tasty beverage...

 At book club last month, one of the ladies mentioned  ChocoVine, a beverage made with red wine and chocolate.  I find eating dark chocolate with red wine to be heavenly, so this was something I had to try.  I read some reviews of it on-line, and while they were mixed, I was still itching to try it, both by itself, and with an espresso infused vodka, an combination I found mentioned several times (I love strong black coffee too). 

A few days ago Ben and I stopped in at Noonans, a local liquor store, but we were unable to find it.  Later that same evening my friend Kristy stopped by and mentioned that she was headed to Noonans. after she left our house.  I told her of our failed shopping trip there and she exclaimed that she knew where to find the ChocoVine in the store.  I hoped right in the van with her and we were off.  Well, not only did we find the ChocoVine, but I also found a bottle of Smirnoff Espresso Vodka.

As many of the reviews stated, ChocoVine was very similar to taste to Baileys Irish Cream, and definitely better over ice than on its own.  I then took a one part each of the ChocoVine and the espresso vodka, and poured them over ice after a quick shake.  Now I was really happy...I found this drink to be absolutely delicious, but would be afraid to drink too many...I can't help but think that the ChocoVine is ChocFull if calories, but in moderation, all is good.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A great day for surf (and turf)...

Grilled Lobster Tails and Fillet Mignon 
with Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Pilaf

 It was just back in February  that Ben had lobster for the first time and he has been dying to have them again.  I picked up a package of two tails at Aldi for $12.99 (they were $19.99 at Walmart!), and looked up on the web how to  grill lobster tails.  A couple of small bacon wrapped fillets, a seasoned butter for basting, and a rice pilaf made with one of Uncle Ben's  rice blends, and we were ready for an ultimate surf and turf.  This meal was sooo good (and we are so spoiled), that I went back to Aldi today and got four more packages of tails (get them while they last!) to set us up for the summer.
Splitting the tails was tougher than I thought it would be.  Even on the "softer" underside, there were tough ribs (for lack of a better word).  I ended up snipping through these with kitchen shears before using a large, heavy knife to split the tails.
Tails and fillets ready for the grill.
Just off the grill...are you salivating yet?
All done!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It is beautiful outside...

 Blueberry Pie with Vanilla Scented Fresh Whipped Cream

It has been beautiful the past days, and last night saw our first real thunderstorm of the spring season, complete with our first tornado watch.  All that blowing and noise sent my little corgi girl to the safety of her kennel, but the sound of rain (once the thunder died down) made for excellent sleeping.  Today, a bright and sunny 82, saw me outside removing the dreaded bagworms from one of our well established arborvitae (6 years old and 9 feet tall).  A check of the rest of the landscape did not reveal any more, but everything will be getting a good dousing with insecticide this evening (sorry, but I must fore go the organic route when trees this size are at stake).

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so we actually had our Easter dinner out on the deck.  I made the Bourbon and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham that I had last made at Thanksgiving, scalloped potatoes, and the green beans i made last week that Ben liked so much (now, forever, to be know as hillbilly green beans).  I don't often make dessert, but since it was Easter, I decided to make a pie with the blueberries I had hanging out in the freezer.  A quick internet serch found an easy recipe at About.com, indexed under southern foods (seems very fitting, considering the food it was following).  The pie was easy to make, set up very well, and was pretty to look at topped with some vanilla scented fresh whipped cream.  What was disappointing was the berries I had used.  We did not get the expected little bursts of tartness, instead the berries were, not bad, but a bit boring.  That said, I will use this recipe again, just with berries that had not been frozen too long.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Grocery Challenge, Week 6 (final week)


Here's the tally for week 6:

3/28     Wal-Mart       $15.82
3/29     Kroger           $13.98
4/2       Kroger           $51.84
4/2      Aldi                $26.11
                                 ______
                                 $107.75

Yay!!!   $42.25 under!!

I was a little disheartened that last week's total was over budget,and decided Sunday evening that I would forgo shopping as long as I could this week, and cook from what I already had on hand (in the fridge, freezer, and pantry).  When I mentioned this to Ben his comment was "Oh, no," but I assured him that I had plenty on hand.  The trip to Wal-Mart earlier in the day had been his, and he had purchased deodorant, soap, coffee (the best price for the 8 O'clock Coffee we like), and Draino.  He said, "You're not counting all that in the budget are you?"  I said that, yes, I was, except for maybe the Draino, which I think I can justify as a "household" expense.

Well, the vow not to shop lasted until Monday morning.  We had a cub scout pack meeting Monday night, and I was responsible for providing the beverages.  It seemed a shame to make a trip to Kroger without making the "bargain round."  So I did.  I picked up the macaroni salad we had with dinner Monday night, the turkey brats and hoagie rolls we had Tuesday night, and a few other things.  I also renewed my vow vot to return unless I needed to.

I was doing really well until Friday when the realization hit me that we were having company for the weekend....but, even after the trip to Kroger and Aldi, and the purchase of ample quantities of beverage, I was still under for the week, so all was okay.

I am wrapping up this project with this post, but this short endeavor has certainly been worthwhile.  I am more conscious of what I am putting in my cart and what it will cost when I get to the checkout, but more importantly, I have a good idea now how the grocery dollars are being spent.  I know that, if needed, I could cut our weekly grocery spending to $100, or less, and we would still eat very well (very, very important!!).  I also know that if I needed to budget, that I would need to do it on a weekly basis, because while I averaged being "under" for a one month period, it was only because of the weekly gauge on spending.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy, happy news...

Noodles, a 4'x4' oil on canvas

I got my letter this week telling me that I had been accepted as a graduate student at Miami University, and today I received news that I had also been granted a graduate assistantship, so needless to say, I'm feeling pretty psyched right now.  Now to enjoy the next 4 1/2 months, because I am going to be one busy lady with full time classes and 20 hours of teaching and/or researching.  I am so excited and looking forward to it (for those of you who don't know me, I'm a confirmed nerd). 

I've made a few changes to the site (again)...I have further subdivided the recipe indexes to make it easier to find the right recipe.  If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share, send me the recipe, any photos you have, and why it is a favorite and I'll post it as a "Friend and Family Favorite."  Once I get a few of these, I'll add a tab to highlight these as their own collection.

You may also notice a new tab up at the top entitled "Nicole's Art."  Nicole, my oldest, is a studio art major at Miami University.  I used to think I was pretty talented, but this girl puts anything I ever did to shame.  She is just starting to get some of her work up online, but there is more than enough to demonstrate how extraordinarily talented she is, and to boot, she's an amazingly good student.  Have a look and leave some good words for her...

Also in the works is a tab for my middle child.  Matthew is an incredible musician who will one day take the music world by storm.  He has to do that whole high school thing, but then he plans to attend Miami as a music major (yes, we are true Miamians, Ben and I got our undergrads there as well).  Matt is the drummer in a band called Chasing Aislin, and they play some pretty intense metal.  Once the band's site has more music up, and hopefully the demo they are working on, I'll share this child with you too.

Chris is only 10, so no web sites from him, but rest assured, this scary smart kid will one day rule the world.  Thanks for humoring me while I brag about my children and have a wonderful Easter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Some (foodie) things that make me happy...

I have been really busy with scouts and working outside, so the dining the last few days has consisted of leftovers, and last night we ate at the Texas Roadhouse, an inexpensive and kid friendly chain that Christopher loves to eat at.  Today I thought I would share some things that make me happy (at least as it relates to food).  These are in no particular order, but let you know a little about me...

 
 Christopher loves to help with the cooking when we go camping...
and he makes the best veggie soup and chili :)

 
Salsas Picantes...
I usually have 8 to 12 different hot sauces around at any given time.
 What is better than to sit at the end of the day
and drink wine with friends...James Joyce

The wine rack was a wedding gift, and 
Ben gave me the wine fridge for our last anniversary.
Avocados, chilies, limes, and tomatoes...
Some of the best fresh veggie ingredients.
 (just need to add summer corn, red bell peppers, sweet onions, and tomatillos)

Coconut
This is toasted coconut on a Pastel Tres Leches I made.

Carnitas...
Carnitas is a food group all on it's own...
( although al pastor is pretty darn good as well :)

A pairing of wine and cheese...
(but, oh, let me tell you about red wine and dark chocolate...)

When my darling husband cooks for me :)

Grilling...
Ben does the charcoal or wood fire grilling, but
I probably cook on the gas grill as much as he does.

Leftovers...
More often than not, I will cook with the intention of having leftovers.  These provide not only ready lunches and frozen meals to share with my grandfather, but provide endless opportunities to "re-purpose" the leftovers into new meals.
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