Monday, May 31, 2010

Week of 5/31

Tuesbeef skewers (Taste of Home)
Wedschicken stir-fry
Thurs meatloaf w/mashed potatoes
Fri fish w/cornbread
Extras chip plate, breakfast
Yes, this a weekly  meal plan. I need the discipline! Just writing it on the chalkboard wasn't doing it these past weeks. Posting online, regardless of whether it's viewed by others somehow makes this feel more weighty--like I need to follow it. Off to the store now. Happy cooking.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tres Leches

It took me 4 years, but I finally got around to making a Tres Leches cake for my husband's birthday. I used the recipe from Cafe Latte on Grand Ave in St Paul, which I'll include here. It was simple to make, and excellent! There are so many variations on this cake that I might be tempted to try a few out before settling. This one is absolutely worth trying though. The key difference seems to be coconut milk and rum in some recipes. This one doesn't include either. I was surprised it only made one 8" cake round, but by the time you soak and frost it, it's substantial enough for at least 8 people. My sister thought 12, but that would be small, civilized-sized servings. Not how I eat a good cake. There is plenty of frosting per this recipe--enough actually for 2 cakes. The kids put the raspberries on. Usually the berries are put on circling the top outer edge of the cake for a tidier look. This comment left my 2-and 4-year-olds unphased as they worked their decorating magic.

And no, my husband didn't turn 4. It was the only candle we had left in the house. 4 years until 40?

Tres Leches, Linda Quinn, owner of Cafe Latte 
1/4 c canola or safflower oil
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c buttermilk

1/2 can (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1 c half-and-half
1/4 t vanilla

4 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla

oil and flour one 8-inch round pan. Preheat over to 350. Combine oil,
sugar, eggs, vanilla in a large bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda and
 powder, salt. Add oil to mixture. Scrape bowl. Add buttermilk, scrape
bowl, combine. Pour into prepared pan, bake for 20-25 min until tester
 comes out clean.

When cake is cool, slice in half. Arrange cut sides up. Combine soaking
liquid ingredients, whisk, pour over cake layers using all the liquid.

To frost, whip cream until very stiff. Place one layer on a cake plate,
 top with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Smooth. Place second layer on whipped
cream, top with 1/3 cream. Smooth. Frost sides with remaining 1/3 cream.
Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Documenting Things

I spent one day per week last year documenting our weekly meal plan. I just read a cool idea for documenting a "day in the life" for a baby or child. This could even be interesting to do one day per year until your child graduates. Think about those teenage photo a day of them sleeping until noon before disappearing for the day. Easy enough.

From the Kodak Gallery website:

Document their day

Photograph your baby when they first wake up in the morning, and continue to document them at meals, bath time, naptime, playtime, and every other major moment in their day. Pull a lamp near their crib if it’s dark, but try and keep everything very typical to their schedule. Have a proof sheet made from the film and you’ll see a full day-in-the-life story of your baby by you.
Document their dayphoto © Amy Postle

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Civilizing Moments

If you are a parent of more than one young child, my husband recommends the following eye-opening experience. Take your oldest to an art museum (or museum of your choice) and eat in the cafe after. It's probably more insightful if the museum isn't entirely kid-oriented.

My husband took our 4-year-old to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts last week. They brought sketch pads and drew their way through several exhibits (cool idea, Dad!). Then they had lunch at the cafe. He said they enjoyed talking during lunch and observing the art together, and both talked about it extensively that evening. They shared their drawings and my daughter now wants to make a book with them. All this naturally warmed my heart to no end, and I smiled to recognize mini-Duchamp's in my daughter's hand.

As you all know, this would have been a totally different experience with little brother or sister in tow. Although our kids are close in age and it's possible to find activities we can enjoy at the same time, there's no question the experience is different when you have your child 1-on-1. We have to keep finding ways to do this. It's good for everyone and you inevitably learn a little more about each other.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And Roland Makes Three

We just enjoyed a spectacular pork tenderloin provided by a good friend as a welcome baby gift. One of those made-in-advance meals that you pop out of the freezer on a needy night, and feast upon without having had to lift a finger. 

Roland, the latest addition to our corral, napped peacefully in his crib while the rest of us ate. Not bad for a week into things. Oops. Gotta go. Kids calling on multiple fronts.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


My brother called tonight, as a meatloaf I'd made was 30 minutes into its cooking time. He said there was a softball game going on at a college down the street, and they were offering free hot dogs, chips, and lemonade as part of the night's game.

I decided the meatloaf would freeze (bonus for another night!) and indulged in the lack of table-setting, dish-washing, and floor-sweeping that the softball dinner would offer. 3 cheers for the home team!